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Mastermind - Excelsior! CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.87 | 43 ratings

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4 stars Cracking good stuff from the Berends Bros. and keyboard whiz Jens Johansson-- Bill (guitars,bass and synth), Rich (drums) and Johansson gleefully tear up a hot batch of jazz-rock with a mind toward Mahavishnu but a heart more for the gothic drama of Euro-metal. Structured but musical, disciplined but not stuffy, a successful entry for this trio and 'Excelsior' leaves little to complain about.

'On the Road' is heavy fusion, Bill Berends and Jens Johansson exchanging bristling runs kept aloft by Rich Berends' beats, as is 'The Approaching Storm' with its medieval doom and Yngwie gloom. A bit more sophisticated is 'Tokyo Rain' which builds nicely in this group's tuneful style, 'The Red Hour' is some sort of Emersonian freak-out, and the melodious 'Decide For Yourself' allows guitarist Bill to show his touch with nylon stings as well as blues. The rip- roaring 'Sudden Impulse', though, puts things on a more metallic track and evokes Liquid Tension Experiment's double-time feats of rhythm, unnaturally rapid movements and boisterous excitement. Thirteen minutes of 'When the Walls Fell' tops things off, a military epic though not the best track here. Overall a fine offering from this family unit, and though occasionally the grey haze of modern fusion casts its monotone cloud over things, the energy returns.

Atavachron | 4/5 |


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